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February 2011 - Writers Magazine

News Review

  • 'World Book Night is practically upon us, and thousands in the UK will help celebrate it this coming Saturday, 5 March. This year the organisers have broken away from the traditional Quick Reads and book tokens for children - although the traditional programmes are still there - to go for a much larger promotion.' News Review reports.

  • 'Borders’ filing for bankruptcy this week was the expected outcome of the long slow decline of the second-biggest US bookstore chain, as it gradually ran out of impetus and money. The book retailer has been struggling for months, with Ingram as the chain's main supplier of books, and most publishers putting them on stop. Borders had proposed that publishers receive interest-bearing notes instead of payment but publishers, not surprisingly, were cool on that proposal.' News Review on this week's bad news.

  • 'The big questions about creative writing courses still remain, although there’s no doubt about their popularity, nor that the universities and colleges see them as real money-spinners. There are now a huge number of writing courses in America - no less that 1,000 - and, after a slower start, about 100 postgraduate courses in the UK catering for the creative writing student.' News Review asks whether creative writing courses are worth it.

  • 'In the light of everything else going on in Egypt, it’s perhaps a small thing that the Cairo International Book Fair was cancelled a few days ago. China was to be the guest of honour and its large delegation of it 248 publishers and 10,000 books was withdrawn at the last minute. President Mubarak, now with other things on his mind, was to have opened the Fair.' News Review on events in Cairo.


  • 'The balance of power has permanently, irreversibly shifted from the media companies to the tech firms. Let's imagine some bolder moves from the publishing industry. Perhaps multiple publishers could band together in opposition, starving the App Store of content until better terms can be negotiated. Or maybe they could seek to challenge Apple on antitrust grounds. Either might prove effective in leading to slightly better terms for publishers.' Pete Cashmore founder and CEO of Mashable

  • 'With a biographical novel you've got the basic structure of the life, you've got a mass of facts. The problem is to find a novel-shaped story to tell, there's no point telling the biographical story, it's been done… David Lodge, author of A Man of Parts on H G Wells, in the Bookseller.

  • 'When I see films made from books, I make a huge effort not to remember the book. It's important to see the film as a film. Of course, it's easier with an old book.  If it's Wuthering Heights or something, it's like going to the theatre and seeing another version; it might as well be Chekhov. This book (Never Let Me Go) came out in 2006, so it's harder to do that. But it's a movie. Every discussion shouldn't be dominated by comparison with the novel... Kazuo Ishiguro, the film of whose book Never Let Me Go has just been released, in the Evening Standard.

  • 'The fact of the matter is that author events will take over your life if you let them. Being invited to Edinburgh these days is like entering the royal enclosure at Ascot.  If you haven't sat sipping whisky in that yurt, you haven't arrived - and it's not just other pen-pushers that you'll meet. Politicians, sportsmen, celebrities... they don't need to have written or even ghost-written a book. Talking about books seems to be a bigger business than reading them...' Anthony Horowitz in the Bookseller.

  • ‘Publishers are relevant. We have practical expertise and, of course, money. We give our authors advances which enable them to concentrate on their work in hand… My idea of hell is a website with 80,000 self-published works on it – some of which might be jewels, but, frankly, who's got the time? What people want is selection and frankly that's what we do.' Gail Rebuck, CEO of Random House UKPenguin Random House have more than 50 creative and autonomous imprints, publishing the very best books for all audiences, covering fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, autobiographies and much more. Click for Random House UK Publishers References listing, in the Guardian.

  • Writers' Quote

    'Beware of self-indulgence. The romance surrounding the writing profession carries several myths: that one must suffer in order to be creative; that one must be cantankerous and objectionable in order to be bright; that ego is paramount over skill; that one can rise to a level from which one can tell the reader to go to hell. These myths, if believed, can ruin you.  If you believe you can make a living as a writer, you already have enough ego.'
    David Brin

    John Jenkins' February column

    In this month's column John Jenkins deals with the all-important subject of creating characters.  How good are you are creating characters?  John shows you how to go about this.

    The 2011 T S Eliot Prize

    The winner of this year's Prize has just been announced. It's been a fantastic shortlist and the Readings in the Royal Festival Hall were a glittering success, attracting an audience twice as big as last year's event.

    International Book FairsInternational Book Fair Information 2011

    Bang up to date, our list of the key international books fairs for 2011.  Some are growing in this competitive sector, some have vanished, and others are still a bit vague, but here's the list as it stands at present.

    Magazine - Sony Reader

    Great review of WritersServices

    We're complimented by Stuart Aken's review of our site in his blog for 27 July:

    'It is the Resources pages that really make this site stand out from the crowd. Here you’ll find reviews of books and software, listings of agents, self-publishing facts, educational matters, health and safety advice, and there’s a new feature, reviewing writing magazines. You’ll see there is a great deal of information on this site. It’s well presented and easily navigated, which is as well, considering the number of pages. It’s a site I browse often and I think you’ll benefit from a good look at this one.' Read more.

    John Jenkins' January column

    This month John looks at the eternally fascinating question of rejection and how some successful writers have overcome it.

    He also quotes from our Rotten Rejections page. 

    Writing Memoir and Autobiography
    Writing Historical Fiction
    Writing Romance
    Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
    Writing Crime Fiction
    Writing non-fiction

    Choosing a Service

    Are you having difficulty deciding which service might be right for you?  This useful new article by Chris HolifieldManaging director of WritersServices; spent working life in publishing,employed by everything from global corporations to start-ups; track record includes: editorial director of Sphere Books, publishing director of The Bodley Head, publishing director for start-up of upmarket book club, The Softback Preview, editorial director of Britain’s biggest book club group, BCA, and, most recently, deputy MD and publisher of Cassell & Co. She is also currently the Director of the Poetry Book Society; During all of this time aware of problems faced by writers, as publishing changed from idiosyncratic cottage industry, 'occupation for gentlemen', into corporate business of today. Writers encountered increasing difficulty in getting books edited or published. Authors create the books which are the raw material for the whole business. She believes it is time to bring them back to centre stage. offers advice on what to go for, depending on what stage you are at with your writing.

    2010 Diagram Prize shortlist

    Here's the shortlist for the 2010 Diagram Prize. It looks like it's going to be another strong year.
    My favourite competition of the year is run by columnist Horace Bent in the Bookseller (the UK book trade weekly) with input from dedicated odd title hunters from all over the world.

    The prize, set up in association with the Diagram Group, has been running since 1978 and is a joyous celebration of the barmy side of publishing.

    Publicising your book

    Gaining publicity is one of the biggest hurdles a new fiction or non-fiction writer faces. After all, without it, no-one will even know your book exists. Here, media agent Alison Smith-Squire offers some top tips…

    Inside Publishing series

    This extremely useful 19-part series is in the midst of being revised to take account of changes in the publishing world. The introduction, How the publishing business works, Advances and royalties, The Relationship between agents and publishers, Subsidiary rights, The English-speaking publishing world and The Marketing department have all just been brought up-to-date.

    This second week we're on to The Frankfurt Book Fair, the Sales Department, the Production Department, Pricing and Distribution.

    And the third week it's Books clubs and Direct selling.  The fourth covers Creative Commons.

    John Jenkins' December column

    'Show the reader, don't tell him:

    Sooner or later most good tutors will advise you to stop "telling" the reader what has happened and instead "show them." The point is to involve the reader. There are many times when tell is more important but nine times out of ten go for show.'

    Agents' listings

    Our agents' listings have been compiled from agents' own websites and other information they publish about what they're looking for. You can use them to research which agents to submit to.

    The listings cover UK and US agents, with separate listings for children's agents in the UK, and international agents from all over the world.

    Tips for Writers Our new series for writers:

    Improving your writing, Learning on the job, New technology and the Internet, Self-publishing - is it for you?,  Promoting your writing (and yourself), Other kinds of writing, Keep up to date and Submission to publishers and agents

    Previous magazines:

    August 2010

    July 2010

    Magazine index

    Help for Writers

    Check out this page to find links to the huge number of useful articles on this site, including Finding an Agent and Making Submissions.

    WritersServices Self-publishing

    If you're thinking about self-publishing, this is the place to find out what's involved. If you're ready to go ahead, our high quality service is second to none and there's an economy version for those who want to tackle some of the work themselves. You can estimate the cost for yourself.

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